The Society was delighted to meet the Caulfeild family from Canada on 9 July 2017. Three generations of the family were visiting the area over the weekend and exploring their connections to Sir Toby Caulfeild who was granted 1,000 acres in the area known as Ballydonnelly in 1610.
Sir Toby went on to build the Castle/Manor House, the ruins of which are in the centre of the village of Castlecaulfield. The family's Canadian connection began with Dr Hans James Caulfeild who travelled to Canada in the mid 19th Centrury.
The origins of the Caulfeild family date back at least until the early 16th Century when one Humphrey Calfehill was a Gentleman of the Bed Chamber to the young King Henry VIII. Amongst the wider family tree are some remarkable descendants including, Princes William & Harry, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney and former Prime Minister David Cameron.
On Wednesday 14th September 2016 a day trip was undertaken to Dublin as part of the 'Decade of Anniversaries'. First was a visit to Kilmainham Jail where we had a guided tour of the prison and museum. After lunch at the Kilmainham Hilton we where joined by our guides for the remainder of the day and we then travelled to Islandbridge and the War Memorial Gardens. Finally we enjoyed a walking tour of central Dublin and its historic sites before travelling home
Carolyn Shapiro on the far right of the photo had recently been in touch with Castlecaulfield Presbyterian Church enquiring after her great great grandfather William Kennedy who had left ireland in 1840. The Church got in touch with the Society and we carried out an investigation into where William Kennedy may have come from.
I am delighted to report that we traced William to the townland of Dristernan and more particularly a farm formerly occupied by the late Bobby Doherty. Indeed it appears we may have found William's father, James who appears as Leasee of the land in 1815 and was a Registered Freeholder in 1796. The Society also discovered baptismal records in St Michael's Castlecaulfield and Lower Clonaneese Presbyterian Church.
After visiting the surrounding area the family were delighted to visit the farm in Dristernan with the kind permission of local man Pat Quinn. It is hoped we will keep in contact with Carolyn and her family and perhaps find more ancestors.